Posts Tagged ‘art’

Great Walls of Leederville

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Perth has been surprising me lately with some exciting initiatives that are bringing life and colour to the city. FORM, a creative cultural organisation that does so much for the arts scene of Perth, has once again initiated an amazing collection of public art pieces scattered throughout the city and surrounding suburbs.

Form

So much detail.

On Saturday, my friend Simone and I, wandered through West Leederville to check out nine or so murals that are being painted to the sides of buildings throughout the main cultural precinct. Most were still being painted with the artists being lift up by cherry pickers. These pieces add so much colour and vibrancy to otherwise dull, concrete buildings. The biggest winner, in my opinion, was the Water Corp building that has been transformed from an ugly concrete box into a giant water fountain.

Water corp Form

Adding a touch of blue to the Water Corp building

Well done to the team at FORM for bringing this to Perth. May it be embraced and continue into the future. Big thumbs up.

One Month Down

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Believe it or not, I have been back in Perth for an entire month and I am yet to turn into a fried lobster. You could even say I have a ‘slight tan’, which mostly means I am not obscenely white – just very white.

It has been a busy month and I think life is about to become even busier. I now have two jobs. Yes, two. Why get one, when you can have two? Both positions are casual roles for the Subiaco local council – the first is working in the community engagement team while the other involves me organising cultural events in the library. I then come home and write amazing things for my clients, so I have been spending a lot of time lately staring at computer screens.

Meanwhile, my left foot is becoming more in tune with the movement of a clutch and I am slowly improving at this whole ‘manual car’ thing. I will admit to one rather large hissy-fit that was the result of a three-point turn, a hill start and a (luckily) very patient person waiting for me to work out the pedals. The fact that it was 38 degrees at the time didn’t help.

Last Saturday I volunteered for the Perth International Arts Festival again, this time at the new (well, new to me seeing as it had only just opened when I left Perth four years ago) State Theatre. I encouraged children and their parents to colour in flying machines and then have them projected onto a large digital installation. It was fantastic fun – watching children gain so much joy from seeing their artworks turned into magical moving images on a large screen was very pleasing.

PIAF

My art work zooming around on the screen.

Now I must dash and go to bed. I have taken to waking up at 5.50am to go for a run and/or head to the beach for a swim before getting ready for work. Ridiculous, yes. Enjoyable, also yes. A day without pre-breakfast exercise isn’t a day that you want to meet me. They say exercise gives you endorphins – I think it just sweats out my grumpiness.

Seaweed Men and the Elusive Red Squirrels

Monday, April 28th, 2014

On Sunday Sir Pubert Gladstone (see Who is She? blog post) took me on a secret mystery tour. He was slightly disappointed when my first response to his question of “Where have you been near Southport?” was exactly where he was planning on taking me. Not to matter – the sun was shining, the rapeseed fields were out in full yellow bloom, and we were off to the beach. Our destination – Formby beach with an additional side trip to see Antony Gormley’s installation, Another Place, at Crosby. I had done this day trip with my cousin Caroline and her son, Meryan, but we had spent most of our day climbing up and down sand dunes and I was very keen to go back to Crosby to see the sculptures up close and personal.

Our first stop was Formby where we entered the National Trust forest reserve that is one of the few places in the UK where you can find red squirrels. The supposedly evil grey squirrels have taken over and spotting a native red is a rare occurrence. After a picnic in the sunshine on beach and a very disappointing game of frisbee (turns out I throw like a girl), we headed into the forest to look for the squirrels. We had been told it was highly unlikely we would spot any and after wandering around staring at tree tops for 20 minutes we gave up. No squirrels here. As we headed back to the car, I took the opportunity to visit the loo and there, near the toilet blocks, most likely having just stolen some food from one of the bins, was a red squirrel. Tick.

Crosby beach

Crosby beach

Our next stop was Crosby where the tide had gone out far enough for us to be able to walk across the seabed and visit some of the statues. I have such amazing memories of seeing Antony Gormley’s installation at Lake Ballard and had been wanting to see the statues at Crosby and compare the works. These statues are cast from Antony’s body and are spread across along the coast spaced 500 metres apart. As the tide comes in, they are submerged in water and are covered in seaweed, salt and other crusty textures.

Antony Gormley statue

Antony Gormley statue

I found the experience at Lake Ballard more spectacular but the isolation of the salt lake is hard to beat. At Crosby it was interesting to see the different textures that have built up on the various statues depending on their position in the seabed. Some had almost completely transformed into salty sea creatures while others remained relatively clean. They all looked quite content to be standing in the sunshine staring out to sea.

Crusty.

Crusty.

Fans and Typewriter Ribbon

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

On Thursday I attended an exhibition opening at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art that included a piece created by my friend, Andrew Lim. Andrew’s work is largely sculptural and generally involves simple, every day items that he has used to create new shapes and forms. His piece within the Tipping Point exhibition involves electric fans and some typewriter ribbon. As the fans lift and move the ribbon, it bounces against a white wall, slowly leaving an ink mark on the surface. The exhibition will be on for eight weeks and over this time the ink will build up and create interesting shapes and forms.

The simplicity of the piece and the hypnotic movement of the ribbon is brilliant. I could sit and watch it for hours.

Scratching It Up

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Every week at the Manchester Art Gallery there is an event called Thursday Late where the art gallery stays open until 9pm and there are activities, workshops, talks, tours, etc. This week the theme was “Walk the Line” and focused on printing and knitting and the role art and craft play in keeping humans happy and sane. This is a subject close to my heart, although my desire to get into craft has moved me away from sanity on occasion. But nothing will hold me away from FREE CRAFT!! So along I went.

I arrived at 5.30pm for Craft Bites – a short discussion session run by a member of the art gallery staff where visitors are encouraged to have their say about a piece of work within the gallery. At first I was the only person there, but soon another participant arrived and so the two of us went with the lovely events co-ordinator to look at and discuss dresses. We were eventually joined by some other people who heard our discussion and decided to join in. It was a fun, although slightly off-topic, discussion session that ended up being mostly a whinge about the lack of arts jobs in England. A positive spin was that I came away with a new friend, and she and I went and joined an etching session downstairs.

This was fantastic! We were given a piece of cardboard, one side of which was shiny silver, plus a sharp pencil. We were then told to draw a portrait of ourselves or someone we knew, creating an indent into the silver. We then applied a oil-based ink (although this was brilliant stuff as it also washed off with water and soap!) which we pushed deep into the grooves we had created, wiped off the excess ink and then placed our blocks into a press with a wet sheet of paper. The result was as follows:

Hello.

Hello.

Considering I started and completed this in around 15 minutes, I think it is fantastic and I am pleased to have been able to try an etching technique. It was much easier than I expected and I think that will some fiddling I could do more with it. I am currently trying to work out how I can recreate the bricks of Manchester. I am completely in love with the dark red bricks that have been used to build all of the industrial buildings. Perhaps etching is my answer… we shall wait and see.

Loving Lithography

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Yesterday afternoon I ventured beyond the southern peripherique in sloppy, snowy weather to attend a lithography workshop organised by the Harvard Club. Yes, I was mixing with the finest and brightest once again, only this time I actually felt like one of the most qualified attendees. My non-law/business background and lack of doctorate, made me one of the more ‘artistic’ people in the group – or at least I told myself that.

What's behind mystery door number one?

What’s behind mystery door number one?

Thanks to my friends Jen and Greg, I was able to attend the workshop run by an American artist, Jonathan Shimony, who has lived in Paris for many years. He originally moved here for one year and then never left and now has an amazing studio with lithography, etching and other styles of printing presses. I walked in, inhaled the fumes of paints, solvents and other delicious chemicals and felt as if I had just walked into heaven. I was brought back to earth by the sudden need for me to shake hands and pretend to be interested in networking with Harvard Alumni (don’t get me wrong – they were all very nice people, I just find the whole thing disgustingly fake.)

Jonathan began by discussing the history of printing and lithography and I became instantly aware of how little I know about art history. Here I am attempting to get into these fields and I feel like I am a bit of a fraud. Obviously these things take time and research and you need to learn them from somewhere – I just haven’t.

We were then given crayon-like drawing implements and spaces on large blocks of limestone and told to draw. A few scratched heads and embarrassed faces later, everyone had added their piece of ‘art’ to the printing blocks and Jonathan then demonstrated the printing techniques on his amazing press.

It was wonderful to watch and participate in the whole printing process although I have so many questions and want to go back and experiment further. Jonathan mentioned the lack of continued interest in the lithography methods and so when I waved my arms around with excitement and declared that I will continue the traditions for years to come, he said I was welcome to come and be his studio assistant whenever I wanted, just as long as I was willing to get my hands dirty. OH YES PLEASE! If only this had happened two years ago and I wasn’t about the leave the country… Even so, I hope to be able to go in and spend a few days with Jonathan and watch the process much closer and ask the millions of questions floating around in my head.

Sometimes my talent amazes me.

Sometimes my talent amazes me.

Learning About Everything

Monday, December 10th, 2012

On Friday afternoon I needed to escape the confines of my apartment walls and so I took the opportunity to go to an exhibition that I have been reading about on various blogs. Called The Museum of Everything, it is a pop up gallery that has toured various European cities and shows works by untrained and undiscovered artists who have never been exhibited in any formal way previously.

Museum of Everything

That way to the Museum of Everything

Located in a rather disheveled building in the middle of the fancy-pants 7th arrondissement, the exhibition was a mish-mash of random drawings, paintings, sculpture and ‘other’. As I walked through the three levels of exhibition spaces I felt a sense of “What on earth is this?” which I liked a lot. I went to the exhibition knowing it was going to be odd – and odd it was. Although it wasn’t as odd as I had hoped it to be. The name “Museum of Everything” had implanted different, more exuberantly random ideas of what the exhibition would be about in my head and it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I think I was expecting more hands-on interaction, more random passageways, more every day items stuck on walls. But some of the work could have been on an average art gallery wall, while other pieces should have remained undiscovered.

My favourite part of the exhibition was a stage covered with large puppets and a film about a man called Calvin Black from Possum Trot in the Mojave Desert who made these puppets based on the people he knew. Clearly there wasn’t much else to do in Possum Trot than make life-sized puppets. But the passion and detail he put into them was incredible. He then made songs and a show in which the puppets performed, attaching electronic motors to each puppet to make them move. It was a bit like Home Alone carny style. Incredible. You can watch a film about Calvin and his puppets here.

I walked out of the Museum feeling quite overwhelmed and not entirely sure of what I had just experienced but interested to see that you really can make a museum about anything. There’s hope for me yet.

Museum of Everything chair

I really liked this chair that was outside the Museum of Everything

Debbie Ding: Postdated Paris

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Last night I attended the opening of an exhibition featuring three of my fellow residents. Each of their pieces represented Paris in some form and all sat very nicely together within the small exhibition space.

Debbie Ding describes herself as a Singaporean artist, designer, programmer and cartographer and a lot of her work involves collecting of rocks, looking at maps and exploring how places have been constructed. She has been working on a project that particularly interests me because I spend a lot of time looking for the same thing – dates that have been imprinted into the footpaths of Paris. Each time a new piece of pavement is laid, they imprint the date on which it was laid. As you walk through Paris, you encounter thousands of dates as different parts of the footpath are pulled up and relaid. I am always trying to find my birth date.

Debbie photographed her feet next to hundreds of dates and then asked people to write stories about what they were doing on that day. She asked me to write something for a date in the year 2000 – I was in year 10 at Hollywood High School, I hated maths and I wasn’t particularly studious. She has then put together a book, placing the stories with the photographs and creating an amazing history of people’s lives.

Debbie Ding book

My words in Debbie’s book

Spookily, although probably not intentionally, I think Debbie may have accidentally put my story with the wrong date. When I wrote my story it was for sometime in October in the year 2000, but at the exhibition  I noticed the photographed date that correlated with my story was 1/9/2000. My birthday.

The exhibition is on until 1 December at the Immanence Gallery in the 15eme. I had never been to this area before and was delighted to discover a small alleyway with galleries and ateliers covered in ivy and fairy lights. It was gorgeous!!

Immanence gallery

I think fairies live here.

Totally Wonderfully Awesome Prints for Sale!

Monday, October 8th, 2012

GREAT NEWS!

I spent my Friday and Saturday framing, hanging, photographing, photoshopping and uploading copies of my work to my Etsy Store! Now you can buy one of my pieces for yourself, your best friend, your wife or even your dog! There’s something for everyone! So come one, come all, and bring your Visa card. You’ll be making a fine investment AND helping the “Make Jess a Famous Artist” fund!

Bad Bananas Zaum print

Bad Bananas

Paris in His Eyes Zaum print

Paris in His Eyes

Spontaneous Ice Cream Zaum print

Spontaneous Ice Cream

 

Drawing with Knives

Friday, September 21st, 2012

I had a great afternoon yesterday as I have come to discover that while I find drawing with a pencil somewhat painful, put a knife in my hand and I can create some interesting images. Last week I spent hours working on a design that I had planned and organised and when it finally came time to print, it just looked awful. I had some left over paint so I grabbed a piece of paper, cut out a random organic shape and it resulted in a really interesting print.

Blue spindle fingers print

Spindle Fingers

You can buy this cool blue thing on my Society6 page as a print, a framed print, a card or even an iPhone cover! (It will look great on all new iPhone 5s.)

Yesterday I decided to attempt this laissez faire technique again and the results were good.

House stencil

Free-cutting stencil

Stencil with paint

Adding the paint.

House and tree stencils

Printed.

I’m not very happy with my colour choices but I really love my tree and I am pleased with the over all scene that I managed to create. The fact that I had to make decisive cuts somehow helped me to create images that I was pleased with. I knew that if I cut the wrong shape or line then I would just have to use it anyway. This meant there was an interesting combination of having to consider the lines I was making but it also not mattering so much because each line just added a natural feeling to the image. It somehow resulted in me being less concerned about making ‘mistakes’ than when I attempt to draw with a pencil. Strange but true.

Stencils

An afternoon’s work.

Again I had left over paint so I did a few experiments to see what I can do with a knife. Exciting times ahead. I am now trying to find out the best papers to use to make stencils with as I am currently only able to do one decent print as the stencil curls with the wet paint. Anyone with any knowledge or ideas they are willing to share will instantly be my new best friend.